IMF chief avoids charges in French arbitration case

May 24, 2013 at 7:18 PM

PARIS, May 24 (UPI) -- International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde says she has been named a witness, not a suspect, in a French case involving alleged misuse of funds.

Lagarde faced two days of questioning before being made an "assisted witness" in the case, The Financial Times reported. Supporters feared she would be placed under investigation in the case.

Lagarde told reporters Friday she was not surprised by the court's decision regarding her role, while serving as the French finance minister, in approving the outcome of an arbitration process involving French businessman Bernard Tapie that resulted in an award of $521 million for Tapie. Opponents alleged her intervention was a payoff for Tapie's support of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Tapie has accused the French government, now headed by Socialist President Francois Holland, of manipulating the legal system to fabricate charges against Lagarde.

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